London, Feb 26 (ANI): One of the best-known Italian novelists, Umberto Eco, has raised eyebrows by comparing Silvio Berlusconi to Adolf Hitler.
He made the comparison while responding to a question on whether there were parallels to be drawn between Italy's prime minister and Hosni Mubarak, the recently deposed president of Egypt, or Libya's Muammar Gadaffi.
"Intellectually speaking, a comparison could be made with Hitler, who also rose to power with free elections," the Telegraph quoted Eco, who recently took part in an anti-Berlusconi protest in Milan, as saying.
The author of 'The Name of the Rose' was at the Jerusalem Book Fair when he was asked his opinion about the refusal of Ian McEwan, the British novelist, to boycott the event because of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
"I have so much to say against the Italian government that I have no time to speak about the Israeli government.
"But Berlusconi is not a dictator like Mubarak or Gadaffi because he won the election with the support of a large majority of Italians. It's rather sad but that's the way it is," he said.
His remarks have earned an angry response from members of Berlusconi's conservative government.
Sandro Bondi, the culture minister, said: "It is distressing that a man of culture like Eco should make such a provocative comparison, offending the truth as well as the sensibilities of millions of Italians, and that he did it in Jerusalem." (ANI)